A couple of nights ago my internet at home was acting wonky and it occurred to me that I could go with plan B… my mobile phone. For an extra fee each month I get tethering on my Evo in the form of a mobile wifi hotspot. I fired it up, which thanks to 4G coverage now hitting me at home, I ended up getting a pretty speedy connection.
This experience was one of those small moments of epiphany that happen when you realize the way you have looked at something into a future period of time is actually inside out.
Like most people I view internet connectivity as something that is fixed that I consume with a specific device that I am using (actively or passively… increasingly devices are connected for system to system activities that don’t require me to be a participant). However, my recent experience suggests that we are on a trajectory where the portability is the network is the network and the devices we take advantage of may be shared.
Think of that for a minute… with data and apps both moving to the cloud and computing devices dumbing down to be input/output and a network connection, why do we even need to have our own personal computer? Could these devices not proliferate to the point that they are like grains of sand on a beach… just everywhere?
Another scenario, and probably the more likely one, is that the network is just something we will carry with us everywhere and connect to with whatever devices we also carry with us. In other words, network connectivity could cease to exist as a fixed infrastructure in places of work, home, and other venues that currently offer it as a service, either free or paid.
Irrespective of any future scenario one thing that is clear is that all-you-can-eat data is something we won’t enjoy for long, at least not until the efficiency of investment in broadband hits a point where supply once again exceeds demand.